We've heard a lot about U.S. corn-based ethanol production lately, what with E85 boosters saying it ain't got nothin' to do with rising food prices. In search of some reliable stats on this issue, TTAC's opened its wallet and bought some hard facts to fuel the debate. Industrialinfo.com [sub or PPV] reveals that "the United States now has 156 operational ethanol plants capable of producing a whopping 8.8 billion gallons of the renewable fuel. With an average of 2.6 gallons of ethanol per bushel of corn, that translates to more than 3.4 billion bushels of corn going toward fuel production. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released numbers that estimate the 2008 corn crop would be about 11.7 billion bushels, meaning that about 24% of the crop will go straight toward ethanol production." I'm not sure who did their math, but when I divide 8.8b gallons by 2.6 gallons/bushel, I get almost 3.4b bushels, which equates to about 29% of the crop. Either way, that's a lot of Fritos. And just in case you want to know whose Senators are behind the .51 per gallon federal subsidies for the corn go-juice, check out this handy little chart. Question: does America actually consume all this ethanol? Hell no. Ethanol Producer Magazine reckons we burned 414k barrels of E85 per day in '07. Round that up to 500k for increased E85 use, and that's 182,500,000 barrels, or 7.6b gallons, per year. I make that 1.2b gallons worth of E85 overproduction, so far. Somebody add some subsidies, quick!
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